I have spent so long hating my body. I would avoid the mirror whenever I was in the bathroom, and keep my head down whenever I went to a self-checkout with a security camera monitor. I would pull and pinch and obsess over every single part of myself I didn’t like, what I didn’t think was beautiful. The stretch marks, the noticeable lines showing my age on my hands, the cellulite, the curves, the dimples, the random hair I can only find when I am being a contortionist…the list goes on and on and on.
When you suffer from any kind of chronic pain, your feelings toward your body can be entirely negative. You could turn angry and resentful against your body, I know I have. I already had poor self-image issues, now my body is physically letting me down. This just perpetuated seeing only flaws and ugliness when I looked at my body.
I had paid for creams and ointments, and I tried every natural remedy under the sun in hopes to heal some of these marks and scars, but nothing works as well as changing your feelings towards your own body and all the “imperfections”. There is nothing wrong with trying to conceal or hide these things but think about why you are doing it and if it’s worth it.
So what has changed for me to gain enough confidence to post pictures of all of these things I once deemed ‘ugly’? Did I one day wake up and have a completely different attitude towards myself and my body? No, absolutely not. A huge part of it is this growing community on Instagram which is promoting body positivity, vulnerability and finding beauty in what you think are imperfections. Another part is the journey I’ve been going on for the past couple of years and being mindful of when and why I’m mean to myself. An element of that journey is to appreciate everything my body does for me every single day.
Hi, foot with toes that grow hair, which I sometimes forget to shave. Hi, scar. I never actually minded this scar. When I was a child I stepped on a pencil that flipped and landed in the top of my foot. I had to have surgery to get the led out and to remove a lump that grew, but I lost some healthy tissue from that part of my foot and I’m super sensitive in this area. I also have bunions from my many years on pointe shoes. They, fortunately, do not hurt and aren’t too bad, but they do make my feet look slightly silly in flip-flops. I don’t give my feet too much negativity, but I never looked at them and thought they were beautiful.
They went through a lot growing up. I physically put them through a lot, but they remain strong. They hold me up, even when I’m feeling down. They continue to support me through my journey in yoga and pilates, and they get me home after my knees and legs have shut down after a long walk.
The birthmark I always forget I have and the hair that grows down my neck
You would think if I cannot see something, it wouldn’t ever bother me, which is mostly true, except when I will put my hair up in the summer and someone will point out the mark to me. I actually think my birthmark is really cool and don’t mind how it looks. I’ve always found scars and marks like this to be pretty awesome, but when someone comments on a part of your body that you cannot help with how it looks, it can poison your views on yourself.
I pay a lot of attention and care for my neck. It’s a spot that I try to nurture when I am having one of my migraines. It’s a sweet spot that provides some healing and can regulate my body temperature.
The pinching and pulling of fats
Do my arms normally look like this? No, but even if they did who cares right? If that’s the case then why do I obsess over how it looks. My arms are one of those areas that I really want to improve. I’m aware of how they look when they are closed into my body…how the fat flattens and widens and how my arms don’t look as cute as I want them to in a tank, but you know what? They are some strong arms. I’m able to real pushups and hold my body upon them. They allow me to hold my husband and my cat. They allow me to flip a page in a book. They are arms, spotted with moles and freckles, and they are mine.
Little pudge that was once bigger pudge, and a dark line and stretch marks to prove it
Do I wear pinup bathing suits because they are cute? Well yes, but also because it hides this part of my body. I sometimes find myself shying away from my husband’s glances at this part of my body. How insane is that? He is my husband and I’ve felt ashamed enough of my body to push him away.
These scars and marks show growth and they show change. I rub my belly with love now.
Does this growing and self-love mean that I always feel positive about my body? Not at all. I have many days when I find myself lost while obsessing over small details in the tall mirror, but I am now able to put myself back together. I am able to realize when I am having toxic thought patterns and turn those negative thoughts into positive ones. At first, you might not believe it, but tell yourself that you are beautiful each and every day, and at some point, you will really start believing it.